Toward a Sensible Discussion of Empire

Some time ago, a friend remarked that it is scarcely possible to have a sensible discussion of empire these days. What follows is not that discussion, though I hope it is sensible. It is a set of truisms and assertions, some so obvious that it is telling that they have become controversial. My aim is to sketch the contours of a sensible discussion to come… . Continue Reading »

A Review of Anna Geifman’s Death Orders

In her recent book, Death Orders: The Vanguard of Modern Terrorism in Revolutionary Russia (Praeger, 2010), Anna Geifman, a professor at Boston and Bar-Ilan universities traces the universal patterns of twentieth- and early twenty-first century terrorist movements through a psychohistorical lens that yields some surprising conclusions. She begins by arguing, for instance, that Russia is the birthplace of modern terrorism… . Continue Reading »

The Weakness of Tyranny

Blessed John Paul II loved the Christmas season. Guests in the papal apartment during his pontificate found the seasonal decorations up early in Advent; and, following Polish custom, they stayed up until Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. The Christmas meal was traditionally Polish. Every year, John Paul would call his lay friends in Cracow, all assembled in one apartment, and they would sing Polish carols together for hours, over the phone… . Continue Reading »

A Moment of Revelation

A few years ago, down with a bug and seeking a bit of couchside entertainment, I flipped through endless television channels in search of something fresh and new”anything that did not seem like a reworking of something I’d seen before. I found an unusual-looking fellow performing an obnoxious dance, complete with lewd pantomime. His audience consisted of two unimpressed record-shop clerks, and when the dance abruptly ended a conversation ensued about life and music and the consequences of sullen attitudes and selfish behavior… . Continue Reading »

An Apology to Cardinal Pell

I owe George Pell, the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, and our readers an apology for subjecting him and you to a dreary and bilious rant. George Weigel recently wrote an appreciated column about Cardinal Pell, one of the most articulate spokesmen for the Christian faith in the English-speaking world. Our readers weighed in with their usual insight and intelligence, but someone whose moniker is “Voiceless Victim” made defamatory and false remarks regarding the Cardinal… . Continue Reading »

HHS Mandate No Longer Just a Catholic Fight

Colorado Christian University (CCU) is helping take the lead against the Obama Administration’s mandate that health plans cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacients. CCU, a nondenominational Evangelical university led by former Senator Bill Armstrong, filed suit Wednesday in federal court to defend its religious liberty… . Continue Reading »

Call it Christ’s Mass and Let Best Buy Keep the Holiday

I am of a conflicted mind when it comes to Christmas commercialization. Seasonal buying and selling fuels the economy and keeps Target and Wal-Mart out of Chapter 11. Our commercial Christmas supports a great number people who in good part owe their livelihoods to Christmas buying, not least the buying done by Christians. So maybe Christians have a point in their peevish complaints when a store chain banishes “Christmas” from shop floors during the, um, annual Holiday-Winter-Solstice-and-Something-Else season… . Continue Reading »

Christmas, the Infinite, and the Finite

The title of Father Edward Oakes’ new book, Infinity Dwindled to Infancy, nicely captures the imaginative challenge posed at Christmas: the mystery of the infinite God become finite man. In truth, however, the challenge to our imaginations has less to do with the how of what the Divine Office calls this admirabile commercium [marvelous exchange] than with the why… . Continue Reading »